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Inc. says "Big Business Wolves Pose in Small Biz Clothes"

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Monday, November 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 19, 2012

How much of a mess has occurred when I have to write a piece to defend large companies?

Actually, I’m not so much worried about them as I am worried about the misinformation in this Inc. article that makes you think it's talking about those big bad large companies.

In this case, the title and apparent intent of the article is off the mark.

The article starts like this, "Is Medtronic a small business? How about General Dynamics? The federal government seems to think so. Both companies are among the corporate giants that have been awarded federal contracts specifically set aside for small businesses."


The sensationalism in the opening paragraph of this article is ridiculous in that the writer assumes (or has been misinformed) that purchases under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (processed using the Simplified Acquisition Procedures) are mandatory set-aside for small business.

They are not.

Purchases under this threshold are "reserved" for small business concerns and shall be set-aside if the "rule of two" is met. Check the FAR or the June 6th memo issued by OFPP and SBA.

I'm not saying the scenario depicted in the opening paragraph of the article does not happen, but the real issue is not large companies "stealing" these opportunities, it is agencies not having the bandwidth and sometimes the know-how to effect these buys in the spirit in which the procedures seem to have been written.

The other challenge is the "swing for the fence" mentality fostered by so many self-serving consultants, lobbyists and advocacy groups that has companies only giving their attention to large multi-million or billion dollar opportunities. By the time many of them come to fruition, some of those small businesses have ceased to exist because they did not take steps to supplement themselves while waiting on the "big one” to come in.

Did I mention that spending under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures has increased from less than $100M in FY2000 to $15.5B in FY11?

Small federal contractors need to do the necessary legwork to identify these opportunities and make themselves available to be seen by these customers and buyers. They don't show up in FedBizOpps as you are likely told by some of the sources cited in this article. Additionally, the next time a consultant or advocate tells you to set up an office in DC (for those not based here), look in your backyard before spending money on them or a likely boondoggle that will only serve to deplete your hard earned dollars.

Additionally, as of today, FPDS-NG reports that $15.4B was awarded in FY11 using Simplified Acquisition Procedures. Where is the $11B coming from cited in the article?

The article is all over the map taking on Simplified Acquisitions in one part, Women-Owned Small Business Set-Asides in another, and the overall Set-Aside Goal for agencies for total dollars (not just Simplified Acquisitions). All important points but not sure how they all made it into the same article.

In this business, there is plenty of butt-kickig to be done and many who deserve it on all sides. In this case, it's Inc. for not checking the facts (enough) or maybe they are just being like the kids in school who pulled the fire alarm every so often, just to get a reaction.


The Chief Visionary

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

Differentiate Yourself. Develop and Leverage Your Small Business C4ISR™.
(Capacity, Commitment, Core Competency, Intelligence, Strategy and Relationships)

Tags:  @JeremyQuittner  government contracting  Inc.  jeremy quittner  simplified acquisition 

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